|Barked: Thu Mar 30, '06 6:08pm PST |
|Hey Finn, that's a really good question...
There are actually two basic backgrounds a service dog can come from. These are called "program dogs" and "owner trained (OT) dogs".
A program dog is usually either born into the program or accepted in when they were still a very young puppy. The dog usually goes through non-disabled handlers in various puppy raiser stages and is professionally trained by an organization like Canine Companions for Independence or Guide Dogs for the Blind. The dog usually doesn't go to the ultimate disabled handler until it is fully trained.
An owner trained (OT) dog is a dog that is raised and trained by the disabled handler. These dogs can come from anywhere (animal shelter, breeder etc)... they can start their training as puppies or when they are young adults. The disabled handler does all the training, though they usually have help from a private trainer, or there are a very few schools that will assist OT dogs.
The main difference between the two types of dogs is cost. It costs thousands of dollars to get a program dog, and the waiting lists are often very long and the application process very hard. OT dogs can be gotten from the animal shelter (like Sabrina) and you only pay for the training you need.
While it would probably be very difficult for people with certain disabilities to train their own dogs (like guide dogs for the blind), for other disabilities it is actually therapudic to train the dog. For example, it is reccomended that people with psychiatric service dogs train their own dogs to help them feel like they are able to accomplish things. Also alerting to panic attacks and mood swings is usually different for each individual, so it would be hard to get a program dog that already knew your particular body chemistry to alert to your panic attacks or whatever.
Both program and OT dogs have the same access rights. A service dog is any dog that is trained to assist it's disabled handler, and both program dogs and OT dogs do this.
Hope this helps answer your question! If you have more questions, just post them in this forum and I and others will be happy to help answer them!
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